Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/324

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310
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

attempted in his creations. Richter, in "Hesperus," gives some very-perfect studies of temperament; but the court physician in that novel is represented of his own type. George Eliot never violates Nature in her female characters, who are generally described as bilious or sanguine; but the least said about her heroes the better. Deronda is surely a mistake. He is first described as a good specimen of the sturdy, bilious man, and is transformed toward the close of the book into the extreme of the sanguine.

To the scientific mind there is always something assuring when we can leave the field of speculation and enter that of fact. Here chemical analysis brings to our aid positive reasons for a classification of men and women according to temperaments. Mr. Rees,[1] quoting from the researches of M. Lecanu, gives us the material for constructing the following table. The figures are ratios to 1,000 parts of blood:

TABLE I. Ratio of Water, Albumen, and Red Blood-Globules in the Blood of Different Temperaments.
 

SANGUINE.


LYMPHATIC.


DIFFERENCE.

Water. Water.
Females 793.007 803.710 10.703
Males
 
786.584 800.566 13.982
Albumen. Albumen.
Females 71.264 68.660 2.604
Males
 
65.85 71.701 5.851
Red Globules. Red Globules.
Females 126.990 117.300 8.874
Males
 
136.497 110.667 19.830
 

This proves conclusively that temperaments have their origin deep and unchangeably fixed in the organic life. Can we, in view of this, look doubtingly upon their potent influence on the current of thought and emotions? Water, plasmic material, and the red blood-globules—the oxygen-carriers of living bodies—rush to the brain in proportions fixed by the law of temperaments; to one brain more, to another less, but with differences sufficient to give vigor, vivacity, tenacity, and mental breadth to the action of one; while the other moves more slowly, its mental life obscured by the smaller proportion of mind-food.

There is one point about which the reader needs to have a clear understanding. This is the difference between temperament and idiosyncrasy. "Temperament is built in a man, as bricks compose a well," says Dr. Southey; "his idiosyncrasy is developed according to the soil in which he is planted, the conditions under which he grows, and the tendency in him to vary."[2] A man has his temperament as a birth--



  1. "On the Analysis of the Blood and Urine in Health and Disease," London, 1836.
  2. London Lancet, American edition, May, 1876.